Journalists Erdoğan Alayumat and Nuri Akman were taken into custody on July 13, 2017 on the grounds of “reasonable suspicion” while they were following a news story in the Islahiye district of Gaziantep. After 14 days in custody, the two journalists were referred to the Criminal Court of Peace for arrest.
Nuri Akman was released “on condition of judicial control.” However, Erdoğan Alayumat was arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization”, “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization”, “militia and support activities for a terrorist organization” and “disclosing the secrets of the Republic of Turkey.” During the court interrogation, they were questioned about their news articles, photos taken along the border, and journalistic discussions over the phone.
Hatay Public Prosecutor completed the indictment for the case on November 3, 2017. The Second High Criminal Court accepted the indictment on November 23, 2017.
The first hearing of the case was held on February 2, 2018. The court ruled that the General Staff be consulted as to whether the photographs cited as evidence in the indictment are indeed “confidential documents of the state”, and that Alayumat’s detention and Nuri Akman’s judicial control would continue.
The second hearing was held on April 25. At this hearing, too, the court ruled to keep Alayumat in prison. Since the General Staff had not yet sent a written statement clarifying whether the campus photographed by the journalists was indeed used for military purposes, it was ruled that a new writ be issued. The trial was adjourned until May 24, 2017.
At the third hearing, the General Staff had still not sent a written statement as to whether the campus photographed by the journalists was “a forbidden military zone belonging to the state.” The court ruled to release Alayumat without judicial control and to continue the judicial control of Nuri Akman. The trial was adjourned until October 19, 2018.